Burglar proof your home before leaving this Holiday

Tuesday, November 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Before you pack up the family and head to a relative's house for the Thanksgiving holiday, you should take a few minutes to burglarproof your home. News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright has some basic, easy-to-do tips that will help protect your possessions.

We took a Tulsa Police burglary sergeant to a house and had him show us all the things you should do and shouldn't do if you want to come home from the weekend and find everything the way you left it. Burglars see every new house as a potential bonanza, a chance to take things for free that you worked hard to pay for.

The first thing on their wish list, your electronic equipment. Sgt Mark Sherwood, Burglary Squad: "Personally, I've been on search warrants, where there's stacks of VCR's but, we can only return 10% of them because we don't know who they belong to." So, the first thing on your checklist, write down all your serial numbers and store them in a safe place. Next, check all your deadbolts to make sure they're tight and secure, then, put your shades at different levels, not all up or down. Put your lights on timers so they come on and go off at different times on different nights.

Lock away your guns in a safe and put away any valuable jewelry. "Jewelry is extremely hard to trace once it's taken and they don't even pawn it, they put it on the black market out of state within a day or two." Outside your home, make sure your bushes are well trimmed and ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail and newspapers everyday. Burglars don't spend weeks on end watching your every move, but they do look for patterns. For instance, if everyone has trash on the curb on trash day except for you, they'll think you're not home, so a simple thing to do is have a neighbor put a bag of trash on your curb. The whole point is to make your house looked lived in, even when it isn't, friends and family can help you fake out the criminals. "You want them to park their car in your drive-way or give them a key to your car and have them move it in front of your house."

Detectives say these quick, easy tips will make it harder for anyone lurking around your home, hoping for an easy haul. Tulsa has around 450 residential burglaries every month, and that number always goes up during the holidays.

As a way to fight back, Tulsa Police officers in unmarked cars will be doing added patrols through neighborhoods starting this week and lasting until the first of the year.